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Werthead

First review of ADWD

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It's a brief 270 word review -- without much detail -- on a book that is ASoS in length.

Chillax folks. We'll have it in our hands soon enough and be able to make up our own minds on it.

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Never have I been gladder to have ADWD preordered as an e-book. If only because I liked the more philosophical aspect of AFFC.

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So ADwD is simply another tease?

I'm a little put off to tell the truth.

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For me ADWD's success or failure will be judged (not entirely, but a fairly important part of it) by:

Whether at the end of it Dany is on her way back to Westeros. If she's departing, great. If she's still in Meereen but has made the decision to leave, that's reasonable. If she's landing at the end, it's fireworks time. If she's still in Meereen and still prevaricating, that's a concern. I think if GRRM wraps up 'Dany in the East' in ADWD and gets her heading back to Westeros, then that would be a huge move towards getting the series wrapped up.

How much of the plot is 'slow-burning' to get there isn't really vitally important to me. But the series needs to get to a certain position in order to be able to wrap everything up in just two more volumes, and I think the above is the bare minimum of what is required to get there.

Completely agree about that.

I had actually accepted it as a fact that Dany will by landing on/heading towards Westeros by the end of the book.

Is it really not confirmed?

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Is it really not confirmed?

It is not.

The PW review is just too short and vague to carry much weight. And I don't know whether I like that "more characters are revived than killed off". But Grossman's "it is great" on Twitter is somewhat heartening, I suppose. ;)

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Review goes along with what I've been saying for years, that ADwD will be the fourth best book in the series to date.

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And I don't know whether I like that "more characters are revived than killed off".

I think that this is likely to be more figurative than literal. Probably regarding Theon, as a returning PoV... we might get some information about Benjen = Coldhands, Qyburn's monster, Young Aegon etc. Not to mention the probability of some wights. But we have known for a long time about those plot threads and as Wert mentioned earlier, ADWD will probably resolve some plot threads to narrow the focus going into the finale.

Like Wert, I too think that Dance has to end with Dany being resolved to go to Westeros.

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Now we're in the ADWD forum, spoiler tags for discussing the review are not required.

So ADwD is simply another tease?

I'm a little put off to tell the truth.

That's a rather negative take on the review. The review simply states that it doesn't have the frequent battle sequences of the first three books (which weren't that frequent anyway). It still states that there's a huge finale, and we know from other sources (like Pat's competition) that there's still plenty of deaths and apparently action in the book.

My hope is that the book will be a slow burn building up the Meereenese Knot, which likely involves an assault on Meereen by siege and storm by Daenerys's numerous enemies, catalysing her return to Westeros. If that happens, ADWD will more than meet my expectations. 'Slow-burning build-up with a big climax' describes a lot of books, including ACoK and most Steven Erikson's output, for example, which are pretty good.

If the review said not a lot happens and then there's a big cliffhanger I'd be a lot more concerned.

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Good news. Thought Feast was easily the strongest of the series so far. (I'm well aware that I'm in the minority on this however) Loved the sojourn through war torn Westeros. It brought back the strong melacholy of his sf short stories from the 70's. Thought the prose was more beautiful in Feast as well.

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My hope is that the book will be a slow burn building up the Meereenese Knot, which likely involves an assault on Meereen by siege and storm by Daenerys's numerous enemies, catalysing her return to Westeros. If that happens, ADWD will more than meet my expectations. 'Slow-burning build-up with a big climax' describes a lot of books, including ACoK and most Steven Erikson's output, for example, which are pretty good.

Notably this is also the case in ASOS which many regard as the best book in the series. If you look at the book, and it is particularly obvious in the British split paperback versions, that very little happens in the first half of the book - but its all set up for the second part.

I think plague will be another threat to Meereen. Although it is interesting that the review seems to confirm something from Anne Groell's snippets. I'm going to tag them just to be on the safe side:

That the Iron Fleet is caught in and battered by a storm at sea

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The difference between AfFC and the first three books with "nothing happening in the first half" is that with the first three you can tell it's building up to something big. In AFfC you have Brienne wandering around, Jaime not doing a whole lot, Arya not contributing to the rest of the story, etc.

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AFFC is the weakest book in the series not because of the quality of writing (it's still excellent), but because of the large amount of filler in the book. That's my biggest concern about ADWD, that this trend will continue and Martin doesn't bring this story back together again. Though the 18 POVs in AWDW doesn't exactly inspire optimism in this regard. If ADWD doesn't finish off the Essos plots, I'd be worried about the series needing 3 or even 4 more books to finish things.

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Of course the only previews I want to read are the ones that go "this is the best book ever." This isn't realistic, as no book written to date has that unanimous reception.

What I look forward to next is something that states "the book is jam-packed with events on par or greater than the events of Storm of Swords - and all these events are amazing."

What I don't want to hear is a comparison to Feast for Crows. I realize it has its defenders, as will anything, as art is subjective, but that was not a very good book. It wasn't terrible. It wasn't poorly written. It was uneventful after the expectation set by Storm of Swords, where a ridiculous amount occurred.

But I consider Feast a give-me. GRRM's plans didn't work out as he intended, and there was no way he could keep the momentum going after so many culminations. So Feast was a buildup novel. Very well, six out of seven excellent books is more than anyone could ask for.

To hear that this may be yet another buildup novel is not welcome. We are three novels from the end. There's so much to cover, so much potential awesomeness that has already been built-up, that at this point this should be one long trek of things wrapping up in a spectacular fashion. What would make it worse is that GRRM has spent eleven goddamn years writing this book, and is on record stating his reason is that he isn't satisfied with just writing good material, he wants to write exemplary material. This perforce sets expectations high.

Do I want to read more philosophical deliberation, or musings on the plight of the common folk, or background information on events or personages who have no relevance to the rest of the story? No, I can read the forthcoming compendium for that sort of thing. I would prefer to see shit going down with Jon, Tyrion, Dany, et al. I would like to see long-awaited interactions, long-awaited climaxes...everything that I've waited to see, I would like to start seeing now. And any unpredicted plot twists too. I want to see momentum, not academic lectures on a fictional world. Feast did that, and it wasn't good. I'm praying the living crap out of Christ that doesn't happen here.

But then even if this is another serving of needless bloat in addition to Feast (and certainly "close to Feast in tone" does not necessarily need to indicate that), this still a chance it could be an entertaining book. Extraneous, bloated side treks in the story are sometimes entertaining, depending on how well they are written; just because most of the bloat in Feast (eg the preponderance of Brienne, Sam and Greyjoy chapters, some of Jaime's chapters, some of the Dorne chapters) wasn't entertaining* doesn't mean the same will be true in Dance.

However it goes, I hope I'm not making too much of the short review. I hope Grossman is the more reliable in this. And there is one bright side to a disappointing Dance, if worst comes to worst: I'm very curious how GRRM would react if all those years of devoted perfectionism ended up poorly received, whereas a book he spent a scant couple of years on (Storm) was his best received.

*Yes, defenders of Feast, I know. You think Feast is the best novel in the series. That's all well and good, but you are a rare breed. Far more will disagree with you than agree. So let's agree that while you may like more of the same, a greater portion of fans will not.

ETA:

Notably this is also the case in ASOS which many regard as the best book in the series. If you look at the book, and it is particularly obvious in the British split paperback versions, that very little happens in the first half of the book - but its all set up for the second part.

A ton of stuff happens in the first half. We get: 1)Tyrion's interactions with his father, which had some of the best, most riveting dialog in the book; 2) Arya's interactions with the BwB and the Hound, which were also compelling, and included such events as the reveal of the much talked about Dondarrion and Thoros' rediscovery of magic; 3) Jon's experiences beyond the Wall, with the reveal of the much discussed Mance Rayder, in addition to all the important Wildlings, and furthermore the greatest movement in Jon's character arc in his interactions with Ygritte and his conflicts with his vows; 4) The Others return and there's a crushing defeat against the Night's Watch, and Mormont is killed; 5) Jaime's hilarious interactions with Brienne and Ser Cleos, and his remarkable character evolution; 6) The absolutely depressing string of events which led to Robb's death; 7) Tyrion's marriage to Sansa.

There's more, but I'm sick of listing them all. The beginning half was hella eventful. Most of it was buildup to a greater climax, but even the buildup was full of compelling and wildly entertaining events. Storm was a happenin' book.

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*Yes, defenders of Feast, I know. You think Feast is the best novel in the series. That's all well and good, but you are a rare breed. Far more will disagree with you than agree. So let's agree that while you may like more of the same, a greater portion of fans will not.

A rare breed? I was just approached at lunch-hour on the street by twenty-somethings canvassing for Greenpeace. I should ask them if they are asking for money to protect the dwindling fans of "AFFC was best". Surely that must be down to a breeding population of less than 10!

A Storm of Swords, imo, is the best fantasy novel of all time!!

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Good news. Thought Feast was easily the strongest of the series so far. (I'm well aware that I'm in the minority on this however) Loved the sojourn through war torn Westeros. It brought back the strong melacholy of his sf short stories from the 70's. Thought the prose was more beautiful in Feast as well.

I actually have to agree here (On Feast being good, not the strongest. So kinda agree). My first time through Feast I hated it but now, upon my second time through, I'm really enjoying it so much more. If I had to rank the books, it'd go something like: Storm, Feast, Game, Clash. I stopped reading several times through the Battle of the Blackwater but so far Feast has been pretty engaging for me.

Just hope to see Dany landing in Dorne or something by the end of Dance. Then it'd be on.

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If the review said not a lot happens and then there's a big cliffhanger I'd be a lot more concerned.

To be honest, that's how I read the review. But as others have stated, I should hold judgement. The review is far too short and vague to come to any sort of definitive conclusion on what it means. That said, even if the book is as I fear, I won't be terribly disappointed. I love AFfC as much as anyone and consider it the second best entry of the series. The problem is, that unlike the first three books in the series, I know I won't be reading TWoW any time soon. So I hope to get at least some resolution, perhaps with Brienne or Jaime or maybe even the Greyjoys.

I suppose that's my bottom line on my expectations. I'm fine with a huge cliffhanger for Jon and Daenerys and even Tyrion, but if we get eight cliffhangers involving Cersei, Theon, Brienne, Jaime, the Tyrells, Stannis, and so forth, then yeah, I might be ticked off. Real progress has to be made.

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There's more, but I'm sick of listing them all. The beginning half was hella eventful. Most of it was buildup to a greater climax, but even the buildup was full of compelling and wildly entertaining events. Storm was a happenin' book.

It was, but I disagree: the first half was entertaining but kinda grim - it was laying the groundwork for the crowning moments of awesome that came near the end. On re-read, the first half of ASoS is quite similar to AFfC in terms of tone, the difference is ASoS feels much tighter because we're dealing with established POV characters, whereas AFfC had to make us care about the newbies as well as push the story forward. Boring.

In the second half of ASoS you have battles between the NW and Mance, Jon's election as LC, Coldhands, the Red Wedding and Joffrey's death, Tyrion's trial and escape, all the Sansa/Littlefinger weirdness culminating in Lysa Arryn's murder, and all that wonderful Arya/Hound stuff. That's the memorable stuff but it takes an entire volume of setting up to allow an entire volume of joy.

That review makes it sound like Dance does lots of setting up á la Feast, but without all the tedium. If that makes it like Steel and Snow, I will still love it. And after two tomes of buildup I shall expect some serious payoffs in Winds and Dream.

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It's a matter of personal taste, really. The only time I read aFfC, at least all of it, was the first time I read the novels. aSoS was sold out in every bookstore I knew and on the site of the publishers, and I just couldn't wait, so I read aFfC before aSoS (stupid idea, I know, but I enjoyed aSoS just the same).

Back then I found it extremely interesting and clung to every word because I was trying to figure out what had happened in aSoS. Then, on my second reread, I was determined to read every single page once again... but I just couldn't. I got bored by Brienne's chapters and soon enough I started skipping them altogether. Then I started skipping the Greyjoys, then the Martells (except the end of the last chapter and Areoh's first chapter). I tried rereading it again before aDwD, but I just can't force myself to read so much of nothing happening. For me, reread of aFfC means Cersei, Jaime, Sansa and Arya. And a chapter or two of Sam and Asha. The rest's just completely uninteresting, once I know the outcome. Which is strange, considering that I'm used to rereading books I love and knowing the result has never been a reason not to be interested in the journey... If I care for the characters, that is.

/The only other character who has chapters I've read only once and skip (at least some of them) ever since is Davos.

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I don't get why people hate AFfC so much. I loved reading about Cersei's steady descent into madness. Jaime's chapters were excellent. The Greyjoy POVs are obviously building towards something which is why I don't mind them so much. Brienne's chapters were filled with glances of the aftermath of the war which is something I adored as well.

My least favourite PoV was Arya (Which is strange because I usually think they're one of the best in the previous books)

Anyhow; I wouldn't worry too much. Just because it has the same 'feel' doesn't mean that it will be just like AFfC. 'feel' could just as well mean things like the use of one-shot PoV's for example.

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Anyhow; I wouldn't worry too much. Just because it has the same 'feel' doesn't mean that it will be just like AFfC. 'feel' could just as well mean things like the use of one-shot PoV's for example.

Just as bad!

Part of what I liked about the earlier books was how tightly written they were. GRRM frequently put major events off-screen, so to speak, to keep the focus on the main characters. With AFFC this changed. As someone said in another thread, if GRRM had written AGOT in the style of AFFC, we'd have had a bunch of Stannis, Tywin, and other random POVs.

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